Buzz Wire Alarm Clock




Introduction: Buzz Wire Alarm Clock

About: I am a University of Edinburgh electronics engineering student.

Does it happen to you to slide your finger across your phone's screen and turn the alarm off ... just because you have automated this task and don't even need to open your eyes?

Well, let me present to you the alarm clock that WILL MAKE YOU:

..... stand from the bed ..... open your eyes ..... get you absolutely focused ..... and finaly WAKE UP !!!

Check out the video above!

Here are some stories from life that may encourage you to buld such a 100%-wake-up-clock for yourself ...

I am an engineering student in third year now and this speaks that I do not get enough sleep during the term time.

For me being prepared means actually managing to wake up for the 9am lecture which is very tough ..... and unfortunately I have to do it every day except Thursday and the weekends. It comes hard when I have an assessment in the lab and really have to do it that early.

I have joined the Instructables Be Prepared Contest because it is quite dramatic when I oversleep and then rush without having breakfast and miss the bus ... and have to walk another 40mins going to the second lecture. I hate myself when this happens.

I want to add a happy-ending story that once happened to me to wake up at 7am while I had a flight at 8:30am and now I'm scared to oversleep whenever I'm going to bed.

Step 1: Buzz Wire Alarm Clock

I was inspired by some sort of a game that you need to focus and move a hook across a wire and not touch the wire ...

The Buzz Wire Alarm Clock shares exactly the same idea ...
  • First you set the time / screen brightness
  • You have a nice clock that even beeps every exact hour!
  • Then you set two alarms - Alarm 1 and Alarm 2 ON/OFF/Set time
  • Wait for the alarm to start beeping the buzzer and flashing the lights - Now you want to turn the alarm off
  • Get the hook and touch either end of the alarm stand
  • Carefully get the hook across the other end of the alarm stand without touching the wire - ALARM OFF :)
  • If you happen to touch the wire :( Now repeat again starting from either end of the alarm stand
As simple as that.
  • And what's more cool - you can customize the buzz wire to your own preferences - make it look like a roller coaster or maybe simple and with minimum bends.
  • You can also choose the hole diameter of the hook!
Below is the settings video:

Step 2: Parts List

To complete this instructable you will need:
  1. Arduino board (I used Arduino Uno, but similar would do ... Arduino Mega etc.)
  2. Arduino Prototyping shield OR any breadbord would do
  3. 4-digit 7-segment display - the one I used is from Adafruit (If you want to use my Arduino code, you will need the same display, but if you decide to connect 4 separate 7-segment displays ... then write your own code)
  4. Resistors - 5pcs, anything between 20 kOhm and 50 kOhm
  5. Button swithes - 3pcs
  6. Buzzer
  7. Wires
  8. Heat shrink tubing
  9. Cable shield
  10. Piece of foam - 10 x 3 x 3 cm (could use cardboard or wood)
  11. Sticky notes for decoration
Basic tools required:
  • Soldering iron & wire
  • Cable strippers/cutters
  • Lighter or heat gun

Step 3: The Display

Plug the 4-digit 7-segment display into the board using the correct orientation - the four lower dots are marked on the board.

Solder the 14 pins and trim the excess wires. 

Plug and solder the 4-pin header.

Step 4: Arduino Hardware Set Up

I have not specifically shown the building process as it is very straight forward. Also, there is an unlimited number of ways you can put your components around just at your best convenience.

The pins as programmed are:

  • A4 - Screen data
  • A5 - Screen Clock signal
  • 2 - Buzzer (output)
  • 3 - LED set one (output)
  • 4 - LED set two (output)
  • 5 - Button switch for minutes (input)
  • 8 - Button switch for hours (input)
  • 10 - Button switch for settings/in/out (input)
  • 11 - One contact ring of alarm stand (input)
  • 12 - Other contact ring of alarm stand (input)
  • 13 - Buzz wire (input)
  • 14 - Used as ground

Step 5: Arduino Software Set Up

  • Download the Adafruit LED Backpack library from github
  • You'll also need to download the Adafruit GFX library that provides the graphics drawing routines, and must be installed!

    To download click the DOWNLOADS button in the top right corner, download, uncompress. The uncompressed folders Adafruit_LEDBackpack &Adafruit_GFX are what you need. Check that the Adafruit_LEDBackpack folder contains Adafruit_LEDBackpack.cpp and Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h Place the Adafruit_LEDBackpack & Adafruit_GFX library folders in your arduinosketchfolder/libraries/ folder. You may need to create the libraries subfolder if its your first library. 
*If you get stuck at some point here, do not hesistate to ask me.

I have uploaded a pic to show you the folder structure.

Step 6: Coding

Here is the developed version of the software that you should upload to the Arduino Uno.

It took me around a week to complete it.

You may notice some new functions like:

     matrix.writeDigitRaw(0,B01110111); //"A"     < This is the bit to the left
     matrix.writeDigitRaw(1,B00111000); //"l"      < This is the middle left bit
     matrix.writeDigitRaw(3,B11010000); //"r."     < This is the middle right bit
     matrix.writeDigitRaw(4,B00000000); //" "      < This is the bit to the right
     matrix.writeDisplay();                                         < This is needed to "put" your symbols to the display

This is all to do with the 4-digit display and the way that you write characters to it.
The above lines of code would mean that "Alr. " is written on the screen where "B11010000" is an 8-bit mask.

Program code:

Step 7: Alarm Stand and Deactivation Circuit: Contact Rings

Make two 1.5cm diameter rings from the cable shield. You can also make another one - the hook. We will need it later.

Solder a piece of cable on each ring insulating the solder joints with heat shrink tube.

Feed the cables through the styrofoam leaving the rings lay on top of the styrofoam.

Step 8: Alarm Stand and Deactivation Circuit: Lights

I have chosen 6 colourful LEDs for my project. When voltage is applied across the LED's terminals, it lights up in Red, Green and Blue at random.

  • Choose a number of LEDs that you wish to put around the styrofoam.
  • Group the LEDs to two distinctive groups - one for each contact ring.
  • Solder short cables to all LEDs' legs and feed the LEDs through the styrofoam.
  • Place the LEDs inside the contact rings.
  • Now solder each group's anodes (+) separately x3 and cathodes (-) all together x6.

Step 9: Buzz Wire

Buzz wire:
  • Use a piece of thick wire that is somewhat tough to bend.
  • Bend it in a shape that you prefer. If you want to wake up 100%,make it swirl round and round and round .... and so on.
  • Then solder a cable to one of the ends of your wire and insulate the connection.
  • Using heat shrink tubes insulate the end bits that stay in the styrofoam.

Step 10: Buzz Hook

Make a hook from the cable shield and solder a 35-45cm long wire on its end. Vary the diameter of the ring depending on your preferences.

Insulate the connection with some heat shrink tube.

Step 11: Alarm Stand and Deactivation Circuit: Assemble

Feed the hook through the Buzz wire.

Feed the Buzz wire through the styrofoam where the contact rings are.

The last picture shows the LED's in action!

Step 12: Get Creative

Make your display the colour you want it to be!

Use some sticky notes and cut a piece with the size of the display. Then simply stick the piece of note to the display.

Step 13: Mounting Options

I have tried two mounting methods:

 - On my camera tripod
 - On the wall using a piece of cardboard

All you need is wire or cable ties and bluetag or similar stuff.

Step 14: Buzz Wire Mod

Depending on how you personally feel it and the ability to focus in the morning, bend the buzz wire as you wish.

The trickier the bends swivel around - the more annoyed you are going to wake up! ........ be careful with that :D


  • I will be adding code comments in a few days time.

Thanks for watching!
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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Can i use TM1637 4 Digit LED Seven Segment Display instead of adafruit backpack + 7 segment display ?

    Here is the description of TM1637 display that i found

    - 4 Digit Seven Segment
    - Red Color LED
    - Using IC TM1637 for display driver
    - 4 pin serial control interface (GND, VCC, DIO, CLK)
    - Compatible with TTL 5V / 3.3V

    Asyraf Musa
    Asyraf Musa

    7 years ago on Introduction

    the adafruit backpack does not available at my place..what should i do to proceed this project??


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


    You can always order from or with international shipping.

    Tell me if you need more help.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great job dude...It's beautiful.I'll definitely try to create this one . Thank you for the post.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I know one sound sleeper who would need to put this into some kind of sturdy enclosure to avoid the temptation to turn it off the quick way--by pulling out wires until it is quiet.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Steel enclosure....hardwired into the wall with metal conduit.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Or with a hammer. My preferred method...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    One of my "next century" daydreams is alarm clocks that are so cheap that they're sold in packages of 100. The starter package includes a hammer and a small anvil. Or perhaps a clock whose 'alarm off' function is activated by an accelerometer, with the sensitivity set so low that you have to fling the clock across the room to shut it up.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ha-ha I shall hang a hammer on the wall too. Just in case ...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    The automatic 'snooze button' task for me would then become pulling the piezospeaker out of the breadboard...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I think I need to build one of these for my boyfriend. He is the king of snooze and it makes me crazy in the mornings!